Remarks on the Formation of the Iraqi Government

John Kerry
Secretary of State
State Department Briefing Room
Washington, DC
September 8, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. Tonight we mark what is unquestionably a major milestone for Iraq, and what President Obama has made clear will be a cornerstone of our efforts against ISIL.

Just a few hours ago, overcoming the obstacle of ethnic and sectarian divides, the Iraqi parliament approved a new and inclusive government, one that has the potential to unite all of Iraq’s diverse communities for a strong Iraq, a united Iraq, and to give those communities the chance to build the future that all Iraqis desire and deserve.

Now is the time for Iraq’s leaders to govern their nation with the same vision and sense of purpose that helped to bring this new government together in the first place. And in that effort, they should know the United States will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iraqis as they implement their national plan to overcome the longstanding political and economic grievances that have for too long divided their country.

Tonight Iraq has a unity government. Tomorrow I will travel to the Middle East to continue to build the broadest possible coalition of partners around the globe to confront, degrade, and ultimately defeat ISIL.

On Wednesday, President Obama will lay out in even greater detail our coordinated global strategy against ISIL.

As we build this coalition, I want to underscore that almost every single country on Earth has a role to play in eliminating the ISIL threat and the evil that it represents. For some that will mean military assistance, both direct and in the form of training, arming, and advising, equipping. For some it will mean contributing to the desperately needed humanitarian relief effort. For some it will mean helping to identify, track, and cut off ISIL’s funding, and prevent the flow of foreign fighters. For still others it will mean demolishing the distortion of one of the world’s great peaceful religions and counteracting the propaganda ISIL uses to recruit new supporters. And for all it will mean publicly supporting the new inclusive government in Iraq.

Make no mistake; these are efforts that we and our partners around the globe are already taking. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have poured millions into humanitarian assistance. The UAE has agreed to take on ISIL’s support networks and beat back against its militant ideological propaganda.

But we also have Canada sending over members of its military to help advise and assist Kurdish forces. We have Estonia and Albania providing military equipment. Our close allies in France and the United Kingdom are contributing in a number of important ways, including by providing military assistance and humanitarian airdrops.

And well beyond the region and Europe we have partners in places like Japan, Australia committing millions in humanitarian aid and Australia agreeing to take in thousands of refugees from Iraq and Syria, and to assist in our military efforts.

Our global, coordinated campaign with a global, coordinated coalition will be built not just in a matter of days or weeks, but it will be built to endure for the months and perhaps even the years to come.

Much more will be done at the UN General Assembly later this month, but our work together will grow and it will coalesce well beyond this month. What we’re working to accomplish will require hard work, sustained commitment, and unwavering focus from all of us. But we are clear that President Obama and I and the entire team absolutely understand this is something we must achieve, and we will be successful.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry, they still have not filled the two – they still haven’t filled two security posts, sir.